Does any bar/noraebang/restaurant serve fresh house made Makgeolli? Not the bottled stuff that you can get for $2.99 at any Korean market. I had my first taste of Makgeolli at Cho Dang Gol in NYC many years ago and fell in love with it but haven’t come across anything remotely close here. Seems like LA would be all over this stuff. It’s practically kombucha. heh
Yeah, you’d think LA would be in the lead on this.
Dan Sung Sa
Isn’t that this stuff?
That’s the stuff that’s everywhere in K-town and Korean markets.
Right, and “draft” is just a word on the can.
@CiaoBob and I just went. Fun! Brobdingnagian plates of yummy fried food to go with that wine.
OB Bear has a picture of a bottle of Kooksoondang “Draft” Makkoli on the menu.
I love that place. I always get #17 raw sea snail.
Thanks for the info. The process seems more intensive than I imagined and explains why it’s impossible to find. Need to plan a trip to Seattle…
Pretty sure Dan sung sa serves the bottled swill
Btw most of the bottled stuff contains aspartame or saccharine. I think I found one brand that didn’t, but it still sucked.
According to “Koreatown, A Cookbook” preservatives are added to bottled makgeolli to stop the fermentation which also ruins the flavor. Slow City Brewery near Chicago is reputed to make a version on a par with the best Korean stuff, but it has to be shipped upright and refrigerated so its only available in the Chicago area as far as I can tell.
So. I ended up overnighting in Seattle on the way to Vancouver and made it a point to visit Girin. I know this isnt the board to review a Seattle restaurant but in case anyone is interested, the makgeolli was not bad but the food was rather weak and dumbed down. Anyway it got me thinking rather seriously about making my own makgeolli. Because I need a hobby.
Sorry for being so late on this but:
- Genuine makgeoli that is brewed on-site is pretty dang hard to find. I’ve spotted it in my travels a couple times, but can’t vouch for whether or not it’s still happening in LA. There was an old place called Dooraebak in Cerritos and later Garden Grove that used to do the fresh makgeolli, but they’ve since closed. A shame, one of the finest dwaeji bossam dishes to ever grace the States.:
The sign out here (don’t know if it still does) used to read in Korean “Odumak Makgeoli Specialists.”
When I visited for [warning, shameless plug] this write-up I did for Eater, they 1000% did not have their beer and wine license and it was listed as “yogurt beverage.” I definitely thought it was a version of Japanese yakult, or perhaps Korean Milkis, which is a carbonated yakult-flavored drink. The server got a little cagey but, sure enough, it was a slightly sour, genuine article makgeoli.
The place specializes in Northeast Chinese cuisine (lots of málà going on when I last visited) and some Korean favorites (dolpan bulgogi there was pretty good).
I am sure in time some craft breweries of makgeolli in Koreatown will begin to materialize – its popularity is currently resurgent in the motherland and those trends tend to wash up on US shores (at least LA’s Koreatown) pretty quickly.
Chunju Han-il Kwan (전주한일관)
Quick facts about Makgeolli
Makgeolli is traditionally paired with 전 (jeon), a catch-all term used to refer to any sort of cooked batter with ingredients inside. You all are probably familiar 파전 (pajeon, or Korean green onion pancake) and its prettier, more popular cousin those pizza-sized 해물파전 (haemul pajeon, seafood green onion pancake). In Korea the pair of makgeoli and jeon are generally consumed on rainy days. This is because the sound of rain striking a hard surface is reminiscent of the crackling sound oil makes when jeon is being cooked. (And I thought I was creative about coming up with excuses to drink and eat fried food).
For a decent experience of this, try out Chunju Han Il-Kwan (I’m sure FTC’ers already know about this place). Lots of people love the jjigae here but their jeons are actually quite good. It’s not quite enjoying jeon at the foot of Seolaksan with some of the local freshly brewed hooch, but it’ll do for those who don’t have the time to fly out for that.
With all of this said: Mass-market bottled makgeolli can be good. I actually don’t mind 월매 Weolmae brand. But, you know, it generally pales in comparison to fresh-brewed.